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Old 09-27-2011, 01:41 AM   #1
Amanofbeer
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My dad has a wood shop, in which fresh oak is aplenty....must I really buy wood chips from the store, or can fresh oak chips be charred appropriately over a bbq, or broiler...toaster oven...then bourbon-ated? how does one put fresh oak to use?

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Old 09-27-2011, 12:25 PM   #2
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When oak barrels are made, the wood is aged for one to three years to allow microbes to sort of "ferment" it, eating bad flavor compounds and making good flavor compounds. The terroir of the place the wood ages has a tremendous effect on the quality of oak barrel produced. Some barrel makers actually ship American oak to France to age, because of the good microbes in the wine-making regions there. After several years they ship the oak back to America to turn it into barrels.

So the oak chips you can buy made from chopped up used barrels are actually pretty different from what you could make with fresh oak at home. But hey, give it a shot and see how it turns out.

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Old 09-27-2011, 01:03 PM   #3
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i work in a woodshop and use fresh oak chips quite a bit. i steam them for a minute or two to get off any nasties that might be clinging on and add them to secondary for a month or two. i usually make ipa's and they turn out great. i do believe it would be a different flavor than an oak barrel, but it works for me.

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Old 09-29-2011, 02:20 AM   #4
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I have been doing this on a few of my beers, one being an IPA, and the result was a huge oak flavor, more tannins and less smooth flavors. I did not steam mine chips, but I figured the bourbon would disinfect them significantly. I had no idea that the oak for barrels could be aged in so many ways...research time...

But what about the toasting process? would a basic toaster oven handle it?

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Old 09-29-2011, 02:40 AM   #5
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i don't think oak cubes (if you want to do it properly, don't use chips IMHO) are that expensive, i'd just buy some if i were you. i don't know that anyone on this site has a significant knowledge of how oak barrels are toasted (how long, what kind of flame, etc.) and what would be a decent substitute for it. of course, if you are dead set on doing it yourself, only trial and error will answer the questions.

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